However, the German Air Force did bomb and machine gun the island, killing nine and wounding many more.
A few days later the German Commander of the Air Forces in Normandy dropped an ultimatum from the air demanding the immediate surrender of the island. White flags and crosses were placed in prominent positions, as stipulated by the Germans, and the following day, July 2 1940; Jersey was occupied by air-borne troops under the command of Hauptmann Gussek.
||'War and Peace' by Tony Robinson
Jersey’s story of struggle and survival during the German Occupation in World War Two is on an epic scale. Tony Robinson, whose career – from Blackadder to Time Team – is bound up in the past, takes a revealing look. Read his story.
Law and Order
Under the occupying forces, Jersey law and Government were allowed to function as before. Assemblies in churches and chapels for divine worship were permitted, as were prayers for the Royal Family and the Empire. However, the German State Police, GESTAPO, had a branch on the island, and they clamped down on meetings of bodies like the Freemasons and the Salvation Army, as well as indiscriminately searching houses and questioning civilians, many of whom found themselves taken to Germany alongside members of the British Forces, some never to return.
Throughout the occupation, Hitler ordered the conversion of Jersey into an impregnable fortress island. Thousands of slave workers from countries like Spain, France, Poland, Russia, and Algeria built the Underground Hospital in St. Peter for troops wounded in France. Fortifications around the island were also built as part of Germany’s “Atlantic Wall”. Examples can be found all over Jersey, especially in St. Ouen’s Bay.
The 40,000 inhabitants who remained on Jersey gradually became used to the conditions under the Germans. One of the greatest hardships was the lack of news from the mainland after the Germans had outlawed the use of crystal sets. A few individuals risked imprisonment by making their own sets and spreading the news from the front.
Horse drawn traffic became an increasingly regular sight as petrol shortages became severe, and many vehicles were converted to use gas. The price of bicycles rose to £30, and their use was restricted by the States to those connected to essential services.
Shopping hours were reduced to 10 am – 12.30 pm, and 2 pm – 4 pm, as goods became scarce. Textile shops were open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They received limited supplies from France, the Summerland factory in Rouge Bouillon, and from local residents. Textile factories were re-opened to provide employment for local women, as well as supplying much needed raw materials.
Food shortages on Jersey were finally relieved by the arrival of the Red Cross ship SS Vega, bringing parcels of food to hungry islanders. Before then, substitutes had been used to replace everyday foods, with seawater replacing salt, for instance, and a mixture of parsnip and sugar beet replacing tea.
The Germans issued special currency for use in occupied countries called the Reichskredit, and consisted of coins of 1,2, 5, and 10 Reichspfennigs, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 Reichskredits.
The cinema, local amateur dramatics companies, and dances provided entertainment. Jersey was the only place occupied by the Germans where dancing was permitted.
On VE Day, the Bailiff was informed that the release of prisoners of war on the island was imminent, with the States becoming responsible for their accommodation. All civilian prisoners were also to be released.
One day later, the 9th May 1945, the HMS Beagle sailed into St. Helier carrying the advance party of Task Force 135, sent to reclaim the Channel Islands. This time, it was the Germans who were ordered to fly the white flag. The task force included many Channel Islanders who were forced to leave in 1940, and one of them, Captain Hugh le Brocq, was given the honour of raising the Union Jack over Fort Regent.
See also: The Liberation of Jersey - May 9th, Liberation Day